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Board of Education Roundup

Two consulting firms contracted to help proficiency scores; BHS Marching Band places 12th nationally.

After delivering a PowerPoint presentation detailing the school district's Adequate Yearly Progress in relation to its performance on the NJASK tests, head of curriculum Michael Meyers said at Monday night's Board of Education meeting the district has contracted two consulting firms to help continue improving students' scores.

Although the Washington Township (Morris County)-based Standards Solutions is in its third year of working with the township's elementary and high schools, the district is in its first year of using Levels of Teaching Innovations, Inc. (LOTI) of Carlsbad, Calif., to help them improve proficiency levels in language arts literacy and mathematics in elementary (grades 3-5), middle (6-8) and high school (11).

According to BOE President Pete Zangari, LOTI costs $53,000 and is paid for with Title I grants, while Standards Solutions runs $162,000 and is paid for with Title I and II grants the district received as part of federal No Child Left Behind act.

“We didn't want them to come in with a cookie-cutter solution. We wanted them to tailor a solution to Belleville students,” Meyers said.

He added: “I really believe they are going to propel the district ahead.”

In other news:

  • The BOE congratulated the for finishing 12th out of 38 teams at the 2011 U.S. Scholastic Bands Association National Championship A Class held last Saturday in Allentown, Penn. This capped a successful fall that included three first-place finishes and a fifth-place showing in Group 2A at the USSBA New Jersey State Championship on Nov. 5 in Union.

    “On top of being great band members, they're wonderful kids,” Zangari said.

  • Several board members attended workshops at the annual New Jersey Education Association's Teacher's Convention held last Thursday and Friday in Atlantic City. In addition to learning about new initiatives, they got to reconnect with colleagues and learned they deal with many of the same financial restraints as Belleville.

    “We all have the same concerns,” Zangari said.

  • Although Meyers' retirement is not official until Jan. 1, 2012, board members took turns complimenting the head of curriculum's efforts. Joseph Longo told Meyers he would be “extremely difficult to replace” while vice president Patricia Pisano-Inaugurato urged him to “reconsider until our scores get to 100 percent.”

  • Zangari will now serve as the BOE's liaison while John Rivera will serve the same capacity for .

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